ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A St. Louis man who pleaded guilty to several counts of animal abuse charges was sentenced on Thursday.
Darick Stallworth, 31, appeared before a judge for his sentencing Thursday morning. While he only answered “yes” or “no” to the judge’s questions, the attorney representing the state of Missouri spoke for the animal rights activists in attendance—most of them from Stray Rescue of St. Louis.
“This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse I’ve ever seen,” the attorney read. She described the vacant building where the dogs were found as the “House of Horrors” and the “Dog Torture Chamber.”
The judge issued Stallworth a sentence of four years and 15 days in prison for his three felony counts of animal abuse and two counts of animal neglect or abandonment.
After the hearing, Randy Grim of Stray Rescue came out of the Civil Courts Building to cheers from more than 100 other animal rights activists. Grim said he is pleased with Stallworth’s four-year sentence, but hopes future cases will receive even stronger sentences.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he fully supported the judge's decision.
“This is exactly what we needed to do. Violence demands punishment,” Slay said. “The fight against violence demands community action. I commend the judge. People who torture animals are likely to be violent to humans as well.”
On May 15, police called Stray Rescue after seeing a dead dog hanging out of a second story window of a north St. Louis home.
When Stray Rescue staff arrived, they found five dogs had been brutally tortured and killed. Staff members described it as “they had truly been through hell.”
According to Stray Rescue, the house was covered in gang graffiti. They found chains and electrical cords that were used to chain up and strangle the dogs. Members also found skeletal remains of a dog that had been choked to death.
Later, they came upon a trail of blood that took them to an area where a dog was burned. One dog that had been choked to death by a cable cord was found with furniture stacked on top of it.
Stray Rescue offered a $10,000 reward in the case, and a person turned Stallworth in.
Police located Stallworth who admitted to police that he had broken his dog’s neck. He also told officers he’d then thrown the dog in the basement of the vacant house.
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The house has been boarded up since the discovery.
To honor the dogs that were tortured and killed, Stray Rescue named them. Their names are Brandy, Schnapps, Frangelico, Grand Marnier and B&B.